Former NRHEG, RCTC standout takes his skills to South Dakota State
BIG STEP — NRHEG High School graduate Kevin Klocek, a football standout at Rochester Community and Technical College the last two years, is making a big step this fall to the Division I level at SDSU. (Star Eagle photo by Nikki Erickson)
By NIKKI ERICKSON
He said it was the hardest decision of his life. But Kevin Klocek packed his bags and left for South Dakota State University with his dreams of playing Division I football coming to fruition.
Once a Yellowjacket linebacker, Klocek finished most of his general college credits while playing on scholarship at RCTC in Rochester, within 50 miles of his home in New Richland. His new journey will move him more than 200 miles from home.
There, he will walk-on after a standout career at RCTC, where he served as captain. The prospects are bright as Klocek takes to SDSU a 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame that can run the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds.
Most would say 200 miles isn’t that far, but Klocek’s ties to his family and local community are the biggest influences in his life, and that will be hard to leave behind.
“They are always supportive of me, helping me out, even listening to my complaints and helping me to find the answers I was looking for; you know, giving me great advice,” said Klocek.
As the youngest in a family of five children, at times it can be hard to get any attention, but Klocek said his family has always come to watch him play, no matter what type of sport he was competing in.
“My mom has been my biggest support,” said Klocek. “I will definitely miss her and all of my family.
Unknown to many, before he became a standout linebacker at RCTC, Klocek placed third in 100 meters in the state track and field meet in his first year out for the sport.
He noted that NRHEG track coach Duey Ferber, and coaches like Ferber, “Who fully invest their time and talent into their students, are what inspired me to work so hard.”
Klocek said his brother, Keith, had the biggest influence on his football career. In seventh grade, he listened to Keith and joined the NRHEG football team. It was something new, but he instantly fell in love with the sport.
“Coach Stork and Schultz really taught me a lot when I played at NRHEG,” he said. “I loved being captain of the team.”
Although family and coaches seem to have the biggest influence on his career, Klocek has many other characteristics of a successful athlete.
“Student first, then athlete,” he said. “Expect to be successful and work harder than anyone else. I follow these guidelines, no matter how difficult it seems. I try to be positive and combine working together with good character. That has always helped me to excel in my life and sports.”
So how will this transition influence Klocek?
“There will be a lot of pressure to get playing time, reach my academic goals and degree in Business Administration, and to keep up with the practice requirements,” said Klocek. “But I know I can do this.”
Kevin posted this as a Facebook status, “At some point in your life, you’re going to be told no; that you can’t do something, that you’re not good enough.”
“To me that is a test of character,” he said.
And this journey to South Dakota State University is a true test of his whole being. He couldn’t have picked a better status to kick off his new career.
“I know if I don’t give up on my dreams, give my best and always listen to my support team, I will do great things,” he said. “I’m really excited to finally follow my dreams and play Division I football. I’m so thankful for this opportunity.”